Google has opened to the public the beta of Docs & Spreadsheets, a combined version of their online-based office applications Writely and Spreadsheets, you will need a Google account to give it a try. With Docs & Spreadsheets you can create documents that include most basic features like tables, formulas, comments, etc., just like you would do with standard desktop office applications. One of the great advantages of creating an online document is that you can collaborate with other users in real-time. Also an auto-safe feature similar to the one in Gmail prevents you from losing your work unexpectedly. Google has said they do not intend to compete with desktop office applications like Microsoft Office, however, this is what Jonathan Rochelle, Google Docs & Spreadsheets product manager had to say:

"It made sense to combine these products and people were asking for that," he said. "It doesn't change our strategy. This is complementary to desktop products... and lacks certain advanced features."
We are looking at a new stage in office applications and potential for further groups collaboration online, and not only from Google, let’s hope it doesn't stop here.